BIRD POOP! What’s Normal & What’s Not!

Although most people don’t typically stop and observe avian feces, doing so can actually key you in on how healthy that bird may or may not be. I’ll start with a basis of what droppings consist of, followed by what is normal, and then abnormalities will be covered.

Avian excrement is a combination of urine, feces, and urates which are all excreted from the cloaca. When changes to the droppings occur, it may affect all 3 of these parts, or a singular component will be affected while others remain unaffected.

Normal Avian Droppings ~ What is normal for a bird typically depends on their diet. Usually, urine tends to be clear and it often forms a ring around the bottom of the fecal matter. The waste produced by the kidneys of birds is also excreted all at once with the feces and the urine. Known as urates, the waste matter tends to be white in color (see above image). Urates may be on top of the feces, or it mixes with the urine component of waste.

If the bird tends to eat more fruits and vegetables, there will be more urine output because these foods have a higher level of water content. This would be similar to feeding wet canned food to your dog rather than dry kibble. Fecal matter tends to be softer if the bird is fed a commercially prepared diet, and tends to be brown in color. Upon my readings, the Association of Avian Veterinarians (which can be found HERE) has established that if a high seed diet is fed the feces will be a dark green color. Also, on occasion, rather than looking like a coiled poop it will have a more well mixed appearance.

Here’s some pictures from HERE

poop

Abnormal Avian Droppings ~ Changes in a birds droppings can indicate health problems. They can help key you in on some possible problems before the appearance of physical symptoms (that birds commonly try to hide). If urates change from a white color to a green or yellow then that’s a sign of a change in your birds health. If your bird used to drop massive amounts of waste, and now there is little to no waste, then you should be concerned by the change in volume. The same can be said about a minimal amount of excrement turning into an excessive amount. A sudden diet change can also cause a sudden change in droppings. The appearance may change in color, shape, and volume. Diarrhea, and/or the presence of blood can also be cause for concern, as it is with any other animal. Polyuria and Polyurates also came up in my readings, which means that an increased ration of water compared to the amount of feces can indicate a negative change in health. Polyurates pertains to the presence of urates in droppings being far greater than before, meaning that the kidneys are in overdrive, trying to filter and produce excessive amounts of waste. The AAV mentioned that multiple droppings should be evaluated before a definite conclusion is reached. An example would be a discolored stool that is actually the result of eating a certain colored fruit.

Here’s some pictures from the previously mentioned brochure as well

poop2

How To Evaluate Droppings ~ The AAV, as previously mentioned, has provided some tips for evaluating avian droppings. Smooth surfaces or pieces of paper can be used as cage liners in order to obtain a sample that isn’t mixed in with any bedding or substrates. They recommend using these methods so that ” number, volume, color, and consistency of the droppings can be noted” (AAV)

Now put your knowledge of bird droppings to good use! 😀

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One thought on “BIRD POOP! What’s Normal & What’s Not!

  1. Definitely important to differentiate between polyuria (excess urine) and diarrhea (fecal component is soft or watery). Polyuria is completely normal and expected in a stressed bird (so basically every bird coming into a clinic). Diarrhea, on the other hand, is never normal.
    There is also a lot to be learned about the color of the urates. Green urates are a good indication that something is wrong with the liver. That’s a good one to know. Hint, hint.

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